I love technology. I love new tech toys.  Sometimes I’ve jumped headfirst into something that wasn’t quite baked yet.  Here is a list of things that IMO aren’t really there yet, but are oh so tempting.

Windows Media Center or a New DVR

I have an Ultimate TV subscription.  The commercial skipping and general DVR usefulness of this device has changed the way my wife and I watch TV.  I would love to have a media server for my entire house that could take the place of the fast aging Ultimate TV system in addition to serving up my photos and music.  What prevents me from buying now?  I lose the dual tuner that currently lets me record two things at once while playing a third.  I would really love to have HDTV capabilities before I upgrade.  I can currently carry my Ipod or laptop around from room to room for music distribution anyway. I can’t fathom finding room for these PC boxes in my living room. Most worrisome is the fact that all of the XP boxes I have eventually seem to slow down over time until they have to be re-imaged.  This is not something I would like to do with the box that stores my precious South Park episodes.  

PDA

Their sleek, colorful, and the newest ones are so very easy to program with the .NET CF and Visual Studio!  Of course, I would only know because I’ve used the awesome emulator that comes with VS as opposed to the real thing.  Why do I need something else that’s a little clunky for a pocket, but still small enough that I’ll probably leave behind at Starbucks to carry around?  Music? Not enough storage.  Calendar?  I look at the beginning of the day and figure that if the frequent outlook reminders aren’t enough I probably don’t need to be there.  E-mail? Frustrating to read and not respond given the choices of input mechanism. Web?  That screen is so small.  Games?  Frustrating interface issues. Besides I carry my Tablet PC around…

Tablet PC (Pen Computing in General)

Ok, so anyone who has received a hand written e-mail from me could attest to the fact that handwriting recognition software will NEVER be ready for me.  I was excited when I first got this, but now would prefer to go back to a more powerful system.  There just isn’t a compelling app/scenario for the pen interface IMO unless you are a digital artist and my stick figures don’t look any better in digital ink.   I’m probably just frustrated by the fact that most apps don’t support the pen very well yet.  I can’t send digital ink in AIM and Office apps outside of Onenote seem to treat ink like the annoying little brother your parents make you bring along.   The basic problem with most apps, including Onenote, is that the standard set of controls (menu bars/listboxes/text entries) are not meant for the pen.  I wish more apps would take a clue from the Alias Sketchbook and develop an interface that takes the pen seriously enough to make the Tablet experience better than the post-it-notes I’ve been taking to meetings bc I don’t want to wait for the thing to un-hibernate. 

True Broadband

I never dreamed that now, almost 4 years removed from college I would still be drooling over the bandwidth I had then.  Broadband has done nothing but get slower over time.  I can’t get any faster than 728k down and 128k up where I live without paying an exorbitant amount.   This limits the usefulness of Xbox live since I can’t host my own games with more than 3 players well.  PC Gaming becomes frustrating to wait for 200Mb demos or expansion packs. It’s slow to run my own server just serve pictures to friends and family. Online video still takes too much bandwidth/buffering for quality that is below non-HDTV.  Last year I had hoped to be able to watch Red Sox games over the Real video services, but I’d get 20 seconds then pause, then buffer, then 20 seconds, then pause…. I don’t think the problem is entirely the compression technology.  Computers now are much faster than they were four years ago and modems got faster every year so speed up my internet connection! Ok, ok, so I’m probably ahead of the average user curve…I’ll pay $10 dollars more per month.  Now will you speed up my internet connection?

Cell Phones

I don’t have one and haven’t since breaking my Sprint contract because of a billing dispute.  I wanted to wait until cell phones were smarter, could hold at least 5 gigs of music, replace my 2mp camera, have all the PDA goodness in the smaller form, act as a wireless modem for my laptop wherever I go, fit easy in my pocket, and make breakfast for me.  Three years later I’m not too much closer.  I don’t see the point in a camera phone with less than 2 mega pixel clarity.  I don’t know why no-one wants to build the massive storage of these tiny hard drives into the phones to store information.  I have DSL, so I can’t throw out my land line so I’d have to pay for two phone numbers.  I also don’t want to spend my time trying to organize my life around when I can and can’t use the various classifications of minutes most services dole out.  The new smart phones coming with the .NET CF built in are very tempting, but they really are still a ways off from my dream phone.

RSS/Blogs

I’m blogging so I see the value but they this movement isn’t ready for primetime yet.  I think some of the readers, especially RSSBandit, have started to become passable as useful applications but I still can’t see getting mom/dad set up with this yet. I don’t think that will happen until it’s built into the web browsing/OS experience. A lot of people I know still read their favorite blogs through a browser and miss out on the cool push/notification they could be leveraging.  Most importantly, I’m still very disturbed that a whole new communication mechanism is being created without ANY thought towards trustworthyness. 

What technology is not up to your standards yet?

josh